Monday, November 29, 2010

Give a book, get an album

OK, I really like the band Pomplamoose, so I would probably think anything they did was awesome. But I especially like that they give away free songs at Christmastime in exchange for charitable acts. Last year was goat-giving; this year is book-giving. I bought The Face on the Milk Carton for a school district. And in return, I got this:

Well, maybe not quite that. But I did get 5 songs, including "Always in the Season," my fave (that I missed out on last year by not knowing about the goat-trade until it was too late). That's a screen shot from the video and I plan to dance exactly like that each of the 600 times I listen to it this month.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where I AM going next semester

After covering where I won't be going next semester a few posts back, it's time to talk about where I will be spending January through April: the Netherlands.
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The Netherlands sits on the North Sea and is bordered by Germany on the east and Belgium on the south. Netherlands means something like low land because about a quarter of the country is below sea level.

I'll be living and interning in The Hague, or Den Haag. It's about 45 minutes from Amsterdam by train. Though Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, The Hague is the seat of the government, the royal city and the legal capital of the world. Or so they say. All I know is that I hope it's the closest I ever am to war criminals.

Good Chuck Taylors

And no, I don't know whether there is a red-light district or legal marijuana in The Hague.

So the Netherlands or Holland? The Netherlands is the official name of the country, but it is often used interchangeably with Holland. I read somewhere that this is because most of the trade was done in the provinces of North and South Holland so foreigners started referring to the nation as Holland. I don't know if this is offensive to people who aren't from one of the Hollands, but I intend to personally find out.

But here's what the Netherlands is really famous for:

Wooden shoes

Windmills and tulips


I think I can fit right in with that crowd.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Being thankful

My family's Thanksgivings are always fairly low-key, especially the last few years. Which I happen to be very thankful for. This year, my brother wanted slightly less traditional food, so we each pitched in (even him) a dish or two.

I promise I'm wearing shorts under that apron.

Instead of just turkey, we had turkey spaghetti. We jazzed up the mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese and who knows what else. Sweet potato hash replaced the usual candied yams and marshmallows. Plus a lot of other fattening, filling things.

I found my contributions on evilchefmom and they turned out pretty good.

As an appetizer, I made these cheese fritters, which are kind of like mozzarella sticks in ball form. It was my first time to fry anything, and thankfully, there were no major mishaps.

I wasn't in love with the texture of the cheese because there was so much ricotta, but I've been asked to make them again, which is the mark of success. We decided next time there will be less ricotta and more mozzarella to solve the texture problem.

I also made a pumpkin layer cake with cream cheese frosting. It was pretty time consuming but worth it. If only dessert didn't come at the end when we were all so stuffed.

The best part of the day: perfecting the super-secret, super-awesome Poller family handshake. I'm terrible at keeping secrets, though, so I'd probably show you if you asked.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kids' nesting dolls

Sometimes (OK, a lot of times) I wish I had kids so I could make cool things like this for them.

I just love nesting dolls for some reason (like these measuring cups from Anthropologie I forced my sister to buy for me). And I love Etsy's how-tos. Who am I kidding? I kind of want to make these for me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where I'm not going next semester

For many Americans, those little (and sometimes not so little) countries in Europe can be a little confusing. I'm as guilty of this as anybody. Before I got my internship in the Netherlands and started Googling all of my questions, I couldn't tell you whether the Netherlands or Holland was the proper name (or even if they were the same place).

I've heard people confuse the Netherlands with Norway, Dutch with Danish and The Hague with Den Haag (just kidding, those last two actually are the same). And as a girl who sometimes (just briefly) thinks Swiss people are from Sweden, I can't really judge these mistakes.

So here's some clarification. I am NOT going to:


Norway is one of those Scandinavian countries, up by Sweden (where people are Swedish, not Swiss). It's a big country compared to the Netherlands but has about 4 times fewer people. Fathers get 10 weeks of paternity leave, because having a kid makes new dads look like this:

Did I mention Edvard Munch is Norwegian?


This is where Hamlet was prince and where you'll find something rotten. They speak Danish, which I happen to be pretty familiar with, typically around breakfast time.

I'll let this sink in for a day or two and then discuss where I AM going (and whether you should call it Holland or the Netherlands).

Obligatory first post

So this is that awkward first post where I'm essentially talking to myself because there are no readers yet. But if there were readers, I'd tell them that the purpose of this blog is three-fold:
1. To let people I know keep up with all the awesome and/or boring things I'm doing;
2. To share all the awesome and/or totally awesome things I find on the Internet;
3. To make myself feel slightly more legit as someone with 1.75 journalism degrees.